Peter J. Melcher

Peter J. Melcher

Professor, Department of Biology
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences
Faculty, Honors Program

Specialty:Whole Plant Physiologist
Phone:(607) 274-3980
Office:255 Ctr for Natural Sciences
Ithaca, NY 14850

Research Interests:

Specific questions being investigated in my lab:

Determining the impacts of introduced species in coastal plant communities in the Caribbean islands.  Currently we are comparing the invasiveness of Scaevola taccada in the habitat of the native species Scaevola plumieri on the islands of Culenbra and Vieques, Puerto Rico.  This work uses standard ecophysiological tools such gas exchange systems, meterological equipment, and general ecological applications to learn how plants optimize resources when competing in the same niche. This is part of a collaborative project with Professor Susan Witherup and faculty at the University of Puerto Rico and US Fish and Wildlife Refuge on the island of Vieques, PR.

Plant Adaptations to Freezing and Drought: This project is aimed at understanding freezing and drought tolerance of grasses in the Pooidae to learn these plants have evolved through the last ice age in response to changes in temperature and drought. This is a collaborative project with Assistant Professor Jill Preston at the University of Vermont.

Adaptations of Plants in Response to Drought Stress: My overarching questions are aimed at understanding basic physiological responses of plants when exposed to drought which will provide insight on how plants deal with water stress when the continuous water columns in the xylem of plants break and form air blockages (embolism); also determining when and how plants remove these embolisms. 

If you interested in conducting research in my lab then please click below:

Fall and Spring Research            summer research 

If you need more information on the procedures to enroll for research credit then follow this link:  
Information on the procedures to conduct research.

Other Involvement:

Off Campus


School of Humanities and Sciences  ·  201 Muller Center  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-3102  ·  Full Directory Listing